Interested in Naturopathic Medicine, Homeopathy, Bowen Therapy or the Neuroemotional Technique?

As the profile of Naturopathic Medicine in North America has been on the rise in recent years, I have increasingly been contacted by prospective Naturopathic Medical students who are interested frank feedback on my education and career as a Naturopathic Doctor in Vancouver, West Vancouver, North Vancouver & Port Coquitlam.

In fact, just this week, I received emails from three different individuals who, despite hailing each from different continents, all posed near-identical reiterations of this basic question.

When synchronicity blugeons me on the head like this, I can't help but take notice. :)

So, without further adieu, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a Naturopathic Medical career in the Greater Vancouver region of BC.

Lets start with some pros.

In short, my experience as a naturopath in the GVRD has been very rewarding thus far.

I mean that primarily in an emotional and spiritual sense, although this profession can no doubt be financially lucrative.

Of course, the value of doing something for which you have a passion cannot be underestimated, and certainly cannot be properly in mere dollars and cents.

On the other hand, there have naturally been downsides as well.

For instance, after completing my undergraduate Systems Engineering degree, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to both naturopathic (ND) and conventional allopathic (MD) medical schools.

While that doesn't sound like much of a downside, you'll see what I'm getting at soon! :)

I chose the former because, after having just left the cold, analytical world of engineering, I was careful to avoid thrusting myself back into another rigidly-mechanistic and numbingly-clinical program.

The scope of education at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine was certainly well-rounded enough to allow for training in somewhat non-clinical or alternative disciplines, such as electrotherapy and exercise rehabilitation training.

Additionally, the inclusion of the naturopathic core treatment disciplines:

  1. Homeopathy
  2. Botanical Medicine (Herbalism)
  3. Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM / TCM)
  4. Therapeutic Nutrition
  5. Psychological Counseling (including that of patients and their loved ones in near-death cases, or even through the death process, and cognitive behavioral therapy), and
  6. Physical Medicine (Naturopathic Physical Manipulation, similar to chiropractic, as well as Massage, Hydrotherapy, UV light, and ultrasound therapies)

gave me a plethora of useful skills that I still regularly use in my daily practice.

Nonetheless, as most graduates of the seven fully-accredited Naturopathic Medical Schools:

  1. Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine
  2. Bastyr University
  3. Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
  4. National College of Natural Medicine
  5. Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
  6. University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine 
  7. National University of Health Sciences

would no doubt attest to, there's no shortage of clinical work involved in getting the ND degree! 

With extensive training in conventional clinical and biomedical sciences, such as:

  • Anatomy
  • Biomedicine
  • Biochemistry
  • Lab Diagnosis
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemical Connections
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Differential Diagnosis
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Oncology
  • Physical Clinical Diagnosis

as well as an additional post-graduate phamaceutical therapy course, I along with many of my collegues have attained sufficient training to prescribe all but the most restricted pharmaceuticals along MDs.

However, note that this does not imply that I choose to prescribe pharmaceuticals on a daily or even monthly basis.

Instead, as eloquently stated by Dr. Christoph Kind, ND, the president of the British Columbia Naturopathic Association (BCNA),

“In a sense, the ability to prescribe legitimizes the decision not to prescribe."

So, despite their seeming differences, there are many similarities between the depth, direction and focus of study in naturopathic and conventional (allopathic) medical schools alike.

This chart highlights the similarities between accredited ND and MD education - as well as the striking differences between the fully-accredited ND programs administered by the aforementioned seven schools (the leftmost two columns in the chart) and the non-accredited "ND" knockoff degrees issued in non-regulated states (the rightmost two columns).

As for my experience in my early years of practice, there were again some positives and some negatives.

One of the positives was that, by the completion of my ND degree, I had received a plethora of clinical training - over 2000 hours devoted specifically to seeing patients and making real-life treatment decisions - via the Boucher student clinic and intership.

This naturally helped to create a relatively smooth transition into the working world.

In fact, the interships I had completed presented me with job opportunities at multiple clinics on graduation.

As a result, I was able to begin part-time work between preparations for my week-long board exams, and this transitioned nicely into full-time work immediately thereafter.

On the other hand, due to the relatively low profile of NDs in North America today, as well as the degree of competition in Vancouver and, to a lesser extent, Port Coquitlam, I could not simply put out my shingle and magnetically begin attracting patients.

Admittedly, this magnetic force has become increasingly stronger in recent years.

However, I reason that has more to do with the positive word-of-mouth being spread by some of my wonderful patients than the modest increase in either Naturopathic Medicine's public image or the general demand for NDs in the GVRD, particularly in the heavily-saturated Vancouver city proper.

However, going back to the beginning of my career, I certainly could not then rely on word of mouth.

Instead, I was forced instead to wear the dual hats of physician and entrepreneur, and to manage the health of my business in tandem with that of my patients.

Despite having been well-trained for this businessman role, it was one I once long resisted, idealistically (and very stubbornly) shunning self-promotion in favour of intensive focus on patient care - which, after all, was what I became a doctor to do!

But at the end of the day, if one chooses to take the road less traveled, it's only natural that one must learn to blaze a trail.

And once that path has been cleared, the possible destinations to which it may be followed are limited only by a Naturopathic Doctor's drive, passion and imagination.

Naturopathic Medicine & Homeopathy Testimonials

I feel like my old self again! My energy is better that it's been in years, and I haven't got sick once since I started seeing you.

Charlotte R., Vancouver (Kerrisdale), BC

Hannah is doing REALLY well - straighter then I have seen her in a while - NO spasms - and even her arm is better!!

She has been using ONLY homeopathy and Bowen to battle a crippling disease, Torsion Dystonia.

Her response has been baffling to neurologists and traditional doctors who are amazed and astounded at her ability to walk, run and carry on normally in life.

Andy's assessment and ability to relate to my teenage daughter were wonderful and her reaction to the remedies and treatment has been so positive.

Hannah Schell, Ottawa, Ontario

I was suicidally depressed, and had really bad sinus, head and joint pain when I came to see Andy. His homeopathic remedy and naturopathic treatment turned my life around within weeks and - more than 5 years later - I'm doing better than ever!

M.C., Vancouver (Kerrisdale), BC

My 100 year old aunt suffered a bout of shingles after which she had severe neuralgic pain in her left arm and around her torso. The pain was so bad that even her clothing couldn't be tolerated.

Dr. Andy conducted a thorough interview and prescribed a wonderful remedy especially for her.

Within days the pain was forgotten by her body and mind and has never returned. 

Margaret Ball, Vancouver (Kitsilano), BC

I felt 90% better after the first Bowen therapy session with Dr. Andy.

I can't even remember now the last time I had arthritic symptoms, joint or muscle pains.

Donald W, Surrey (South Surrey / White Rock), BC

Andy's bowen technique cured the laryngitis and acid reflux I used to get for years.

His neuroemotional work (NET) made my cough and depression almost totally cured too.

Kate R, West Vancouver (Caulfield / Horseshoe Bay), BC

Dr. Andy's homeopathic remedy really helped to eliminate the lichen planus I had been dealing with. My sex drive and ability to have sex without pain have also gotten much better with the homeopathy and naturopathic counselling.

T.L., Langley, BC

The homeopathic remedy and neuroemotional technique cured my blisters, warts, and pustules, and I haven't had any flare-ups or outbreaks for over a year.

Andy's Bowen therapy helped my knee and hip pain a lot as well.

J.W., Delta (Ladner), BC

My voice was always raspy, and it would hurt to talk too much.

And I'd be coughing up phlegm and mucus even when I was healthy, especially after getting up in the morning.

Then when it'd get damp, I wouldn't be able to even breathe very well.

Andy's homeopathy remedy and bowen therapy made a huge difference overnight., and things have just kept improving every time I've seen him.

Alex, West Vancouver (Bowen Island), BC

I had such angry red inflammed acne on my face and neck, it didn't matter how much foundation I put on, it would never look normal.

I also had low blood pressure and blood sugar problems that would make me weak, shaky, and nervous.

I had tried the normal drug route but that just made me feel worse and made my periods even more painful.

Andy's homeopathic remedy and neuroemotional therapy made me less anxious, jealous and irritable, almost overnight.

The Bowen technique also seemed to make things flow better, and my periods better.

The acne started to lessen after a couple of days and the flare-ups became less and less until they were not even noticeable.

The healing has been so gradual and complete that before Dr. Andy reminded me I forgot I used to have restless legs, anemia, or vomiting problems.

J.B., Sunshine Coast (Gibsons), BC

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